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Riffle: an Open Source Water Monitoring Approach

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The Riffle is a collection of designs that take an open source approach to water monitoring, with the intent of making gathering water information easier and more accessible. It is part of Public Lab's Open Water Project.

For an overview of the design philosophy behind the Riffle, see this wiki page.

Public Lab has supported development of an Arduino-compatible Riffle version - a datalogger enclosed in a water bottle. This is great, because the Arduino community is huge, and lots of knowledge and troubleshooting resources are now applicable to the Riffle project. (The first Riffle design was an ARM-based datalogger board enclosed in PVC)

Water Monitor Designs

By now, several instrument designs have been constructed around the Riffle, some of which of are described in an array of Github repositories:

Sensor Designs

We've started to summarize some of the approaches to sensing water parameters like conductivity and turbidity:

Activity grid

Here are some activities the Public Lab community has conducted using the Riffle

Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
Riffle Beta project - Methane Gas Sensor - - @Bob - - 0 replications: Try it »
Soaring Riffle field-test - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Compost is hot, says Riffle field-test - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
How to bootload a Riffle #Arduino #water #science #tech - - @zengirl2 - - 0 replications: Try it »
In the heat of the pile observe - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Riffle and Thermsistor - - @pdhixenbaugh - - 0 replications: Try it »
Blink a LED - Write a 'Sketch' and build a breadboard circuit for the Riffle build review-me @pdhixenbaugh 1h medium 1 replications: Try it »
Riffle test 1 verify - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
Riffle Device: Water Conductivity Sensor - - @rebeccah - - 0 replications: Try it »
Riffle campout test-limits - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »

Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.

Project Status

2016: A small order of Riffle_328 boards arrived late April 2016, and were sent to Public Lab community members as a way of testing the design and informing further development.

Projects using this riffle can be found at and

2017: The Riffle is currently available for pre-order until March 17.

How to get a Riffle Datalogger

Order the Riffle from the Public Lab Store by March 17th.

The Riffle is open source, so additionally, anyone can take the designs above to a PCB fabricator and have one made, or investigate other dataloggers.

Riffle Alternatives

The following dataloggers also have a real time clock and log to a micro SD card as the Riffle does. All of them are based on Arduino and will run more or less the same sketches. These are all open source hardware.

  1. EnviroDIY Mayfly Logger. Designed at the Stroud Water Research Center and commercially available through Amazon but currently out of stock (as of Feb 2017).
  2. Adafruit Feather M0 and Adalogger FeatherWing RTC + SD Add-on. These are two commercial products which snap together.
  3. Cave Pearl Project logger. Ed Mallon's design for a DIY data logger made from very inexpensive clone components (Arduino Pro Mini, SD card board, RTC board). Requires soldering and care.


Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What probes to get with data loggers? @pdhixenbaugh over 4 years ago 4
Is the Riffle for sale at the Public Lab Store? @cfastie almost 5 years ago 5
How similar is the code for the KnowFlow and the RIFFLE data loggers? @gretchengehrke about 5 years ago 15
How does Riffle compatible with 5V sensors? @shanlter about 5 years ago 7
How do I install a bootloader on a Riffle data logger? @warren over 5 years ago 2
What would be a good basic activity to test out a data logging device in water? @stevie over 5 years ago 7
What are the differences between the Nano Data Logger and the Riffle? @warren over 5 years ago 1
What are some lessons learned using the Riffle? (Especially Underwater) @pdhixenbaugh over 5 years ago 1
How to use Alkaline Batteries with the Riffle? @pdhixenbaugh over 5 years ago 5
Question: purchase sensor @frabisog over 7 years ago 2

Since the Riffle is Arduino-compatible, here are also some Q&A for Arduinos in general:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
DFRobot Turbidity Sensor Troubleshooting @mimiss about 3 years ago 5
Can we use an arduino to run a photodiode and interference filter to detect bioluminescence? @omarion about 3 years ago 3
How can we connect a PMS5003 dust sensor to an Arduino? @warren about 4 years ago 10
How much of an Arduino's onboard memory would be available for datalogging? @warren almost 5 years ago 0
How does Riffle compatible with 5V sensors? @shanlter about 5 years ago 7
Seeking DC-area folks interested in building temperature sensors for urban heat island measurement @carohowe over 5 years ago 8
What are ways to record ambient temperature every 5 sec and export easily? @carohowe over 5 years ago 10
How do I install a bootloader on a Riffle data logger? @warren over 5 years ago 2
Desktop Spectrometry Kit to arduino? @jjoll over 5 years ago 5
Progress? Options... @bbran about 6 years ago 3